I must admit that while I have considered myself a gamer since the early 90’s, I do not have a vast history with Mass Effect. What I do know is that before Mass Effect: Andromeda there was a trilogy of games in which the last ended in a way that required the DLC to change the final ending. There are also a few things from the lore that I know about, most predominately being the Krogan genophage.
Andromeda starts in 2185, which is during the middle of Mass Effect 2. This is when they start the 634-year journey from the Milky Way galaxy to the Andromeda galaxy. So things that happened in the latter half of the trilogy, like the curing of the genophage or Reaper invasion, is not known to the characters.
Mass Effect: Andromeda did the smart thing by moving the plot away from the story line of the original trilogy. In this new release, you lead an expedition in a foreign place, and the goal is to start multiple new colonies in this new galaxy. Initially, the drawback for me was the major plot points of the story at the beginning and how some characters reacted to what eventually happened felt a little too simple.
Trying to find a new home in a new galaxy does inevitably bring you to multiple planets that you’ll end up traveling to multiple times. You also encounter a few new species that seem to be either untrusting or outright hostile towards you. After a twist or two (that you can see coming), you’ll find that the best part of the story is the interaction of the Tempest’s crew, even though they’re fairly simple themselves.
Mass Effect: Andromeda does have a few problems, with the biggest being the graphical issues. Within the cutscenes themselves, you’ll see that the facial animations are not quite right. The character’s eye moment seems dead and emotionless, really pulling you out of the scene and story in general.
Speaking of the cutscenes, I had some random NPC issues. One NPC in particular randomly walked off while I was talking to them, and another walked into the scene and bounced between me and the person I was talking to.
Outside of the cutscenes, there are other graphical issues. The biggest of which is the inconsistent frame rate within the fast movement of the Nomad. More than a few times when moving across the map, the frame rate would drop to nothing. It felt like the game just couldn’t render the world as fast as I was moving through it and that it had to stop to finish rendering it.
This game had a hard time keeping me drawn to it. With the story not being able to hold me and the graphical issues throwing me out of the cutscenes, I had a hard time focusing on the good that is within the game. When the frame rate issues are not hampering gameplay, it feels smooth and responsive and generally fun to play. Even with the great interactions that come from the crew of the Tempest, there just isn’t enough of it to overcome the base story.
With poor initial reviews and sales, EA eventually reshuffled its development teams that put together Mass Effect: Andromeda on to other products. This reshuffling lead to the post-launch DLC being canceled and ending future support leaving the series future up in the air. While I do enjoy some elements of the game, there just isn’t enough for me to want to go back to it. It’s that thought process that makes it difficult for me to recommend Mass Effect: Andromeda. If you are looking for a good science fiction game or space exploration, I would recommend starting with the first Mass Effect.